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UMCOR U.S. Latest Responses

UMCOR and its partners are responding to disasters across the globe every day. Please join us in prayer for the affected areas and consider giving to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response to support these efforts.

UMCOR will provide further updates as they become available. For the most up to date information, follow the UMCOR Facebook page.

2024 DISASTER RESPONSE

Winter storms and tornadoes 

Late December 2023 through January 2024, several states in the Southeastern U.S. experienced severe storms with tornadoes that left paths of destruction through specific regions. Alabama-West Florida, Western North Carolina and South Carolina conference Disaster Response ministries received grants to provide immediate support to people affected by the storms. 

2023 DISASTER RESPONSE

Tornadoes in Tennessee

On Dec. 9, severe storms and tornados swept through middle Tennessee, killing six people and leaving dozens hospitalized.  The storm impacted at least 15 counties, destroying homes and causing extensive damage. UMCOR awarded an emergency grant to the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference to aid initial relief efforts.

On October 25, 18 people were killed and 13 more injured at three different sites by a mass shooter in Lewiston, Maine. A grant to the New England Conference assisted local churches to support the survivors, first responders and community members to recover from this horrendous act of violence. 

In September 2022, Typhoon Merbok made landfall across a thousand-mile stretch of Alaska’s western coastline, damaging homes in 23 primarily Native American villages. Alaska Conference received an initial grant in 2023 for emergency relief, followed by assessment of needs and resources. After working with FEMA, local village leadership and Mennonite Disaster Services, the conference received a major grant to begin long-term recovery in two Native villages.

In July 2022, Eastern Kentucky experienced a significant amount of rain that caused catastrophic flooding in Appalachian communities. In December 2022, the Kentucky received a significant grant from UMCOR to set up initial operations for long-term relief and recovery with the Kentucky and Central Appalachian Missionary (Red Bird) conferences. In September 2023, the Kentucky Conference received a second significant grant to continue recovery projects such as home repairs and rebuilding, case management and relocation for those who could not rebuild.

In May, a wildfire in Las Tusas, New Mexico, burned about 980 acres, causing the evacuation of 150 families. The New Mexico Conference received a grant to provide relief for the immediate needs of the survivors. In August, UMCOR provided an emergency grant to the California-Pacific Conference for relief and assessment of the disastrous fire in Maui, Hawaii. The Pacific Northwest Conference received a grant for relief efforts in Spokane, Washington, in response to wildfires in August.

In April, Hidalgo and Cameron counties in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas were in the path of a straight-line windstorm and later in May, a tornado. The Rio Texas Conference received an emergency grant to address immediate needs and in September, was approved for a major grant for recovery in a low-income area where more than 400 homes were damaged and are still in need of repair.

In April, more than 300 people of the Chinle Chapter of the Navajo Nation were affected by flooding and run-off that breached a berm designed to deter the path of the water, a result of severe winter storms. Volunteers from the Desert-Southwest Conference have been working with the Navajo village to provide repairs. An UMCOR grant approved in September supports home repairs as well as repair of damaged plumbing and septic systems in affected households.

On March 24, a powerful tornado traveled at least 170 miles, killing more than 25 people, injuring hundreds and causing damage primarily in Mississippi. The supercell that produced this deadly twister also appeared to produce tornadoes causing damage in northwest and north-central Alabama and then Georgia.

UMCOR awarded grants to the Mississippi and Arkansas conferences as well as to the United Methodist Churches of Indiana. It also allowed the North Alabama Conference to use unused funds previously awarded to address the current disaster.

Beginning in mid-December 2022 and continuing into mid-January 2023, California experienced a continuous series of rainstorms (frequently referred to as “atmospheric rivers”). This comes on top of wildfire damage from the last few years for many areas. As a result, California has had an extensive number of floods, mudslides, landslides and other related damage.

UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the California-Nevada Conference to support a coordinated response for survivors, including relief supplies, debris removal and clean-up efforts. The conference aided several communities, including those in the Sacramento area, focusing on flooded agricultural workers and senior and low-income households.

2022 DISASTER RESPONSE

Blizzard in Buffalo and Western New York

Over the Christmas weekend, Western New York experienced a devastating blizzard. This tragic storm buried the city of Buffalo in over 50 inches of snow and was accompanied by a –30-degree wind chill and 80 mph winds. The disaster took at least 39 lives.

UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Upper New York Conference to support a coordinated response for survivors, including relief supplies. Funds were used to replenish food pantries and support other emergency services.

In late November, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama experienced severe weather and dangerous tornado activity. In Eutaw and Montgomery, Alabama, homes and businesses saw structural damage. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Alabama-West Florida Conference to support families and communities in need of immediate assistance.

Hurricane Nicole made landfall in Florida on November 10 with sustained winds of 75 mph, giving the state two landfalling hurricanes (along with Ian) in one year for the first time since 2005.

In response to the needs of survivors in multiple coastal communities, UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Florida Conference to support their local relief efforts.

Hurricane Ian came through western Cuba to make landfall in Florida as a catastrophic category 4 storm on September 28. Whole cities and communities were devastated in Florida and the storm continued to bring heavy rain, wind and flooding up the east coast of the U.S., affecting numerous states.

The Florida Annual Conference received a solidarity grant from UMCOR to address the immediate needs of survivors and deploy supplies. In South Carolina, Ian was the first hurricane to make landfall in nearly six years and UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the conference to help address immediate needs.

In Florida, an UMCOR consultant will provide assistance with planning and logistics and a program manager is working on the development of a short-term relief grant while a long-term recovery program is developed. In South Carolina, UMCOR will assist with the development of long-term recovery grants.

Hurricane Fiona, the first major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico and brought torrential rains to the Dominican Republic in mid-September. It left millions without power and running water for weeks. It left millions without power and running water. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to help address immediate needs.

Flash flooding brought severe damage to Chattooga and Floyd Counties in Georgia in early September. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the North Georgia Conference to assist in local relief efforts.

In late August, the people of Jackson, Mississippi experienced flooding and a water system emergency. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Mississippi Conference to provide access to safe drinking water for those affected.

In late July, Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia experienced devastating flooding resulting in the loss of life and property. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Kentucky Annual Conference and delivered nearly 3,000 kits during the first week of the disaster. In coordination with the conference disaster response coordinator, UMCOR-trained Early Response Teams (ERT) deployed to the affected areas.

Severe weather and tornadoes touched down in many regions of the U.S. during the spring and summer months. UMCOR awarded solidarity grants to the above conferences in support of immediate response to the damage and to meet the needs of survivors. 

Beginning April 5 and continuing into May, multiple fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres in New Mexico. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the New Mexico Annual Conference to support the needs of evacuees and coordinate debris removal and cleanup efforts. It has also awarded over 2 million dollars in 2023 to provide infrastructure, hire key personnel, offer Disaster Case Management, and provide funding for unmet needs.

On January 16, several rotations touched down and caused significant damage to residential and commercial properties, displacing roughly 300 people. UMCOR awarded an initial solidarity grant and is financially supporting the Florida Conference in a 2-year recovery project that will focus on home repair and case management.  

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Past Response

Wildfire in Colorado (2021)

On December 30, a fire rapidly spread through Boulder County, Colorado, that consumed over 6,000 acres and close to 1,000 homes. UMCOR awarded an emergency grant to the Mountain Sky Conference to assist with immediate needs of evacuees and other survivors of the Marshall Fire. UMCOR followed with a recovery grant in 2022 to provide direct assistance and case management services to households affected by the fire.

Following a deadly string of December storms and tornadoes, UMCOR supported conference disaster response coordinators in damage assessment and immediate relief efforts. Initial emergency grants were awarded in Kentucky, Arkansas and Western Tennessee to support local response efforts. UMCOR awarded a substantial recovery grant to the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Annual Conference in 2022 for volunteer engagement and case management.

In October, multiple tornados and high winds hit the already ravaged areas of Lake Charles and southern Louisiana. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to the Louisiana Conference to support their meeting of urgent needs such as food and shelter and to support volunteer efforts, initial case work and other relief activities.

A group of 11 tornadoes moved across Alabama in March, causing death and destruction in four counties. An UMCOR recovery grant is providing case management and construction services in the Alabama West Florida Conference.

Category 4 Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and continued to bring destruction along the east coast. UMCOR awarded initial solidarity grants to the Louisiana, Mississippi, Greater New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, New York and Susquehanna conferences. It awarded a recovery grant to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference for case management and construction management.  

On June 25 – 26, widespread rain fell in Metro Detroit. Some areas experienced 6-8 inches of rain resulting in major flooding. UMCOR awarded a grant to support disaster case managers in their work of help meet unmet needs of survivors and continued its support in 2022 with a large recovery grant.

Hurricane Sally and Zeta (2020)

In response to the storms that hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in September, UMCOR awarded a grant to the Alabama-West Florida Conference to provide emergency needs in evacuee support, relief supplies and materials distribution. To support long-term recovery, UMCOR awarded two substantial grants to help fund repair and reconstruction of damaged households as well as case management. The Mississippi Conference received a recovery grant for assistance in getting homes dry to eliminate extended damage.

UMCOR awarded grants to the Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi conferences to meet immediate needs for the devastation brought on by the August 27 Category 4 storm. The strongest to ever hit the Louisiana coast, UMCOR-trained early response teams deployed in the affected areas and cleaning kits, supplies and PPE for volunteers were distributed. UMCOR is funding and supporting case management for long-term recovery.

UMCOR awarded grants to the Pacific-Northwest, California-Nevada and Oregon-Idaho Conferences to support local response efforts to massive and prolonged wildfire spread in the summer and fall of 2020. UMCOR hygiene, cleaning and school kits were distributed to affected communities and a long-term recovery grant was awarded to the Pacific-Northwest Conference that includes case management training.

Wildfires in California (2017-18)

UMCOR supported the California-Pacific and California-Nevada Conferences as they responded to the needs of those affected by the devastating wildfires of 2017 and 2018. Grants were awarded totaling over $1.5 million for response and recovery ministries.

UMCOR awarded grants to the North Carolina and South Carolina Conferences to support response efforts. Recovery grants were approved in the amounts of $825,050 for South Carolina and $1,428,000 for North Carolina to support vital survivor services, including disaster case management, reconstruction and volunteer coordination. In both conferences, recovery programs were launched in January 2019. UMCOR supported with training and consultation.

UMCOR awarded partners in Texas and Louisiana grants totaling over $13.8 million to aid in the recovery of more than 12,000 survivors.

UMCOR worked closely with the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico to develop of a comprehensive plan for recovery. This included support for disaster case management, direct assistance, volunteer coordination, materials and supplies, and contracted construction services in 25 municipalities throughout the island. UMCOR awarded grants and relief supplies totaling over $20 million.

UMCOR awarded partners in Texas and Louisiana grants totaling over $13.8 million to aid in the recovery of more than 12,000 survivors.

UMCOR awarded $9.1 million to the Florida Conference to support its comprehensive recovery program, aiding the recovery of more than 10,000 survivors.

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